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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Hesitant Boyfriend - Part 2

[Readers - This is Part 2 of a three part series. Part 1 published on June 22, and Part 3 will publish on July 6th. What do you think? Does this "new information" change your opinion at all?    - Bro Jo ]

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for replying so soon. There's a few more things you need to know that might change things:

He's actually been clean for nearly 4 months and has been to the temple with me in May to do baptisms for the dead with my ward. I was talking to him yesterday, and the only thing that makes him not ready to marry is that he hasn't yet gotten an answer from Heavenly Father. I specifically asked what is keeping him from being ready or making the decision. He's been praying and he wants to get revelation for himself if this is the right thing to do instead of just jumping into it because he wants to marry me.

How long in your opinion would he need to be clean to be sealed to me, if we decide to marry? We both want to, but are waiting for a confirmation from Heavenly Father before deciding to be formally engaged.


Dear Impatient,

My first response to this email was to write to you and say how wonderful it is that I'm wrong and that he's on the right track! But to be honest, and I apologize if this sounds pessimistic, but something still doesn't feel right . . .

And the "new" information doesn't change anything for me.

It's the timing.

The dude has been home from his mission for several years now. He "relapsed" into his porn addiction but has been "clean" for four months . . . see, what I'm seeing looks like this:

  • Pre-mission - struggled with porn
  • Mission - hopefully clean
  • Post-mission - "relapsed" into his porn addiction for several years (please note: in terms of repentance we don't call it "relapse", we call it "not yet repented of" - you can't fully repent until you "turn forever away")
  • Started Dating You 5+ months ago
  • Two months later stopped viewing porn
  • One or two months after that (and here's where I have the biggest problem) was cleared by his Bishop AND given a baptismal recommend (after being "clean" for a very short period of time) and allowed by your Bishop to go and do Baptisms for the Dead in the Temple

Forgive me, but . . . no way.

There's no way a guy has a life-long history of porn addiction, confesses everything to his Bishop and is given clearance to go to the Temple one month later.

Look, I'm not the guy's Bishop, and his repentance process is certainly none of my business - that's between he, the Bishop, and the Lord - but I find it very difficult to believe that a guy started dating a girl seriously (by the way, I hope you noticed that, based on what I've been told, his porn problem overlapped a large chunk of the time you've been dating), went and told his Bishop "hey, I've been a pornography addict for over 10 years, but I stopped a month ago" and the Bishop said "that sounds like true repentance to me! Here's a Temple recommend, son. Go with whatever ward you like."

I pray that I'm wrong; and as Sister Jo will tell you (as well as several of the "Dear Bro Jo" readers) I'm wrong all the time.

But something just doesn't fit.

Perhaps I'm being dumb.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Or the last.

There's no set timetable when it comes to returning to full fellowship with the Lord. Depending on the transgression and the efforts of the individual, six months to a year might be realistic.

But whatever you do, don't agree to a marriage until the repenting is over.

- Bro Jo


Frank Pellett said...

In dealing with addictions, just a few weeks or months isnt a big deal, as the addiction can hang around in the background easily in that time, biding its time for a big comeback. A year is a good marker, important because in that year there have been several times where the addiction has been succesfully resisted and denied.

As someone who has been there, I very much agree with Bro Jo - closer to a year incident free would be better, for both of your futures.

On an additional note - he'll be very worried about losing you because of this, even if he's still deep in the addiction. Part of him may even hope marriage will be the "cure". That's far from the case, and can be like that hidden wedge left in the crook of a tree, leaving a hidden weakness that can break everything apart.

I very much wish you both good luck and much patience.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with both Bro Jo and the previous comment. Whilst no-one pretends to be perfect, something is still not quite right.

Anonymous said...

Dear Impatient,

It sounds like you are dating what I was engaged to. I can promise you this isnt what you want. My ex changed so much, and I thought "Well the atonement is true, I should look past the fact that he was addicted before and after his mission" A month before the wedding he called it off ( I am so thankful, I dont know if I could of done it ) A week after everything was called off he was into Porn again. When the wedding was called off he had a recommend,going to school with all A's,job,and was happy. After cancellation he failed his classes, cut his hours back, failed into temptation, and is now terribly bitter and miserable. All the changes I thought were for him, were really for me. You will find a guy that is ready for YOU. He wasnt and isnt ready. He needs times by himself to stop not, " I have a gf so maybe I should stop" Do you want to go through eternity dragging him behind you, or walking side by side with someone else? If Porn is more addictive than any kind of drug ( like they say it is ) He doesn't need months to be clean, he needs years. Oh girl, I dont want you to go through what I did. My ex was one of the more dashing, sensitive, lovable, and caring people I know. He treated me like a princess, but it wasn't right! I see warning signs in your story that match up with my past relationship. Please know that there ARE guys out there that are ready, worthy, and willing.